Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 11, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Women’s Basketball – Game 16 Preview – Western Illinois

Filed under: Omaha Mavericks,Previews,Women's Basketball — Jon Green @ 9:33 pm

Omaha Women's Basketball Preview Western Illinois - 1-12-13

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Omaha struggled offensively in a 49-60 loss at IUPUI on Thursday. The Mavericks will look to rebound in a Saturday afternoon game at Western Illinois. The Leathernecks have had some struggles of their own getting blown out in each of their last two Summit League games, 80-49 at Fort Wayne and 55-36 @ IUPUI. Still Western Illinois is undefeated at home and Omaha probably won’t cruise in this one. Western Illinois also had a confidence builder midweek as they beat Chicago State 87-52 on Tuesday.

Western Illinois
The Leathernecks lost four of their first five as they played a lot of early road games, after that they got hot winning six of seven before dropping the two road games in Indiana the last two weekends. The Leathernecks play at a fairly up-tempo pace and are a good shooting team who have put up 70+ on six occasions. They can also play some defense as they’ve held seven teams under 60 points.  They are a little sloppy with the ball and aren’t a great rebounding team.

Their leading scorer is senior guard Saule Kontautaite who is from Lithuania. Kontautaite is a 45% shooter and averages 14.3 per game, 5th in the Summit League. She’s gone for 20+ in four games including their Summit League win at Oakland where she had 24. Michelle Maher, a freshman guard, has averaged 10.9 points and has scored in double figures nine games already including three of 20+. Her season high of 23 was in a home win over Bradley. Maher and Kontautaite both shoot a good amount of 3’s (98 and 99 a piece) but aren’t fantastic shooters from deep.

Ashley Luke, a senior forward, has averaged 5.8 rebounds and 7.3 points and has gone for 10+ in 3 games including a 12 rebound 10 point double-double vs. Bradley. Michelle Salvatori, another senior forward, averages 5.3 rebounds and 6.5 points.  The final starter is Rebecca Henricson, a junior guard from Sweden, who averages 3.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Off the bench Western Illinois brings their best shooter from deep, Charnelle Reed, a freshman guard who shoots 44% from 3 is and 3rd on the team with 20 3’s.

Western Illinois likes to use their bench players and the five starters average between 20 and 29.9 minutes while Reed along with Jackie Rieger, Karis Phillips, and Rachel Evans all average 11.8+ minutes off the bench. In their win over Chicago State, Western Illinois had six players score in double figures, none with more than 13 though (Saule Kontautaite). They shot 47% from the field and 45% from 3 (three Leathernecks hit three 3FG). Western Illinois had 25 assists on their 33 made FGs.

In the blowout loss to Fort Wayne, Western Illinois shot 28% and just 33% from 3 while letting Fort Wayne catch fire to the tune of 49% shooting (52% from 3). Western Illinois had 20 turnovers, just like they did at IUPUI the next weekend where they again were cold (23%, 1-14 from 3). IUPUI wasn’t as good from the field (only 33%) but they did grab 15 offensive rebounds and 12 steals.

Head coach JD Gravina will be hoping that the team who played against Chicago State is who he gets on Saturday. Gravina is 20-26 at Western Illinois in his two seasons. He was previously the head coach at Quincy where he went 93-28 in four seasons. Western Illinois has been a solid program in the past but fell on hard times. They haven’t won more than 14 games since 2005-06, but with a strong finish in conference play they should surpass that mark.

Wins, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com – BOLD = Summit League
142 – Bradley (92-81)
180 – Eastern Illinois (70-68)
204 – Valparaiso (69-55)
232 – @ Oakland (81-73)
283 – @ Loyola (IL) (65-61)
331 – Chicago St. (87-52)
N/A – Clarke (85-35)
N/A – William Woods (70-53)

Losses, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com – BOLD = Summit League
34 – @ Iowa St. (65-84)
75 – @ Missouri (61-70)
160 – @ IUPUI (36-55)
181 – @ SE Missouri St. (47-56)
197 – @ SIU-Edwardsville (58-68)
206 – @ Saint Louis (44-55)
289 – @ IPFW (49-80)

Western Illinois has been very good at home this year and has a couple of top 200 wins there. They have been mostly poor away from home but it’s noteworthy that only two of those losses were to sub 200 teams, and Saint Louis is 206. I’m also noticing the margins in some of these Summit losses (19 to IUPUI, 31 to Fort Wayne).

Omaha vs. Western Illinois

Team FG% 3FG% FT% O-PPP D-PPP TO Rt A/TO A/B% Def FG% Def 3FG% Opp TO Rt Reb% Off Reb% Def Reb% BPG
Omaha 42.0% 34.0% 68.2% 0.906 0.805 23.0 0.897 59.0% 35.7% 29.2% 24.0 52.5% 37.2% 66.8% 3.1
WIU 40.6% 33.1% 66.2% 0.865 0.862 23.9 0.865 63.0% 39.9% 31.6% 23.0 48.7% 28.5% 69.4% 4.1
Favors.. Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha WIU Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha WIU WIU

Green = 1,2, or 3 in the Summit League. Red = 7,8, or 9 in the Summit League.

Only three area’s Western Illinois is better in – A/B% (Assists/FG), Def Reb% (Omaha’s worst stat), and blocks. Omaha is among the top 3 in the league in nine of the 15 categories I track here.

Starters
Western Illinois
Guard – Michelle Maher – 5-9 – Freshman – Park Ridge, Illinois – Averaging 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
Guard – Rebecca Henricson – 5-6 – Junior – Lidingo, Sweden – Averaging 3.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Guard – Saule Kontautaite – 5-9 – Senior – Berciunai, Lithuania – Averaging 14.3 points, 2.9 rebounds.
Forward – Ashley Luke – 6-1 – Senior – Oak Creek, Wisconsin – Averaging 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds.
Forward – Michele Salvatori – 5-10 – Senior – Rock Falls, Illinois – Averaging 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Omaha
Point Guard – Jamie Nash – 5-4 – Senior – Verona, Missouri – Averaging 10.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 3.7 steals.
Guard – Carly Cator – 5-9 – Senior – Lakewood, Colorado – Averaging 1.8 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Guard – Paige Frauendorfer – 6-0 – Senior – Humphrey, Nebraska – Averaging 13.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.8 steals.
Guard – Carolyn Blair-Mobley – 5-10 – Senior – St. Paul, Minnesota – Averaging 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.
Center – Taijhe Kelly – 6-4 – Sophomore – Carson, California – Averaging 4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.

Three Things to Watch
1) Can Omaha start fast? Or even normal? Can they stay consistent all game? – Omaha has scored more points in the 2nd half than in the 1st half in 10 of 15 games this season. They seem to get out of the gate slow and has trailed at the half in five of their last six D1 games. Additionally Omaha has been held below 25 points in six halves this season. Those kind of scoring slumps can really hurt this team and not surprisingly Omaha is 2-4 when they have a half below 25 points. Those two wins were the OT win over Northern Arizona where Omaha blew an 11 point halftime lead and the big win over Kansas city where Omaha played fantastic defense in the 2nd half and pulled away. If Omaha wants a win in Macomb on Saturday starting well and not slumping for a while could be the key.

2.) Shooting Slumps! – Ericka House is 5-18 in the last two games, Jamie Nash is 4-16 in the last two games and has only been over 50% from the field in two games this season. Carolyn Blair-Mobley is 6-22 in the last two games (1-9 from 3). Paige Frauendorfer busted out of her slump against Fort Wayne and has carried the Mavericks the last two games by going 13-22. They’ll need her to continue her strong shooting and stay on the court long enough to take double figure shots. Additionally someone else needs to hit some shots on Saturday. Vaughn and Kelly could provide some scoring as well but if Omaha isn’t a threat from outside they won’t be as effective. Omaha had only two 3FG against IUPUI for the first time since 1/19/12 against Concordia, a streak of 21 straight games.

3.) Rebounding advantage – Omaha has won the rebound category in ten games this year but lost it in on Thursday and has lost it in three of their four losses. If Omaha loses the battle on Saturday that’s a problem considering they are 3rd in the Summit in Reb% and Western Illinois is 6th. Omaha gets a lot of their rebounds on the offensive side and that can help them through some shooting woes at time. On the defensive end we saw late in the IUPUI game what a problem defensive rebounding can be at times for Omaha as they gave up several offensive rebounds when they needed a stop most of all. Saturday they should have an advantage and need to use that.

Prediction
I think Omaha will win on Saturday. Western Illinois has shown some flaws in the Summit League already and Omaha will be ready to show that Thursday night was not the way they are going to play consistently. Omaha will hit shots on Saturday and play stronger on defense. I’m going to take Omaha fairly big, 67-55.
Massey – Western Illinois wins 62-60.
RealTimeRPI – Western Illinois wins 63-60.

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